The Norman Transcript

December 17, 2010

Children’s house takes forefront at Coaches Lunch

By Aaron Wright Gray
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — University of Oklahoma head basketball coaches Jeff Capel and Sherri Coale allowed their talks to take a back seat to the benefit of the fifth annual Coaches Luncheon.

The event, held at Journey Church Thursday, raised money for the Mary Abbott Children’s House, a child abuse response center in Norman.

So touched by the work they are doing in the community and the video that captured the essence of the organization, it was the first thing Capel spoke of when taking the microphone.

“That video was very humbling, especially for a father of two,” he said, referring to a video about the organization that was shown at the luncheon.

Capel, men’s coach for the past five seasons, talked about knowing what it feels like to go through a challenging time. His team has struggled this year after losing several key players last year. The team is currently at a standstill with five wins and five losses.

“When you go through these tough times, it’s good to know you have teammates,” he said, noting that the Mary Abbott staff serves as the teammates for children who have faced traumatic sexual and physical abuse.

Capel elaborated more on his season, saying that his team was young and inexperienced, but that they are dedicated to improving.

“I like my group. I like how hard we work,” he said.

He expressed hope about the remainder of the season.

Coale, in her 15th season, said the same about her team, that they are young and still figuring out who they are as a team. Somehow, despite still defining themselves, they have become known as a winning team, losing only one game so far.

She spoke of the lessons she learned from the team that took her to the Final 4 last year:

Lesson one — “Everyone’s got a job to do and everyone’s got to do their job.”

Lesson two — “It’s amazing what you can do when you get out of your own way.”

Lessons three — “The most important thing is to keep showing up.”

Each lesson point was followed by an example from a player. Coale said these lessons wouldn’t have been learned if she and her team hadn’t taken time to pay attention to those around them and their surroundings in general.

“It is that that gives us a chance to be great,” she said.

She then tied in her speech about her team back to the work of the Mary Abbott Children’s House, saying that if the community pays attention to the youngest members of the community who are in need, Norman residents will give the community a chance to be greater.

Aaron Wright Gray 366-3533 pop@normantranscript.com